Find Educator Inspiration in the Beatles’ Magic
Reviewed by Laura Von Staden
In this short guide, middle school principal and Beatles lover Sean Gaillard draws lessons for the education community from the iconic foursome and their album “Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band.”
Gaillard also talks to principals and teachers about the value of our vision, our belief in our passion, and the importance of innovation and creating a culture that allows students to build the “masterpieces” that will change our world.
The author’s main tenets in the book are that we can change the world through education innovation if we believe in our vision, believe in our own “masterpiece,” believe in our collaborators, and ignore our naysayers. He advocates taking risks and not taking ourselves too seriously as we break out of the status quo.
So what about the Beatles?
Gaillard suggests looking to the Beatles and their creation of Sgt. Pepper to discover guiding principles that can help us change the world through our students. The “Pepper Effect” is all about innovation, a Beatles’ hallmark. And in order to innovate we must have a disruptive vision for learning, a school culture that supports visioning, and collaborators who will work alongside us as “bandmates.”
Each chapter starts with a quote to get us thinking outside of our box of usual expectations. Chapters have three main parts starting with Side 1, which primarily discusses the Beatles and Sgt. Pepper’s history. Side 2 primarily links the lessons learned from the Beatles in Side 1 to applications in the education realm. Each chapter ends with key ideas and steps for implementation, usually presented in the (1) believe in your vision, (2) believe in your masterpiece, (3) believe in your collaborators, (4) ignore your naysayers, format.
From overcoming initial opposition (Guitar Bands Are on the Way Out), stepping away from the tried and true (Walking Away from Candlestick Park and the Same Old Things), adding praise and thanks to the schoolhouse, making the impossible possible (A Beatles Reunion), tuning into the eclectic (Sgt. Pepper’s Inner Groove), and to providing service and support for students and teachers (All You Need Is Love), Gaillard uses the Beatles as a model.
He shows us how teachers and administrators can change the climate of their schools to allow students to innovate, learn about their true selves, collaborate with others and create their own “masterpieces” that will impact our world (to solve current and future problems that face us), if we just believe in his four tenets.
Gaillard, who created the #CelebrateMonday hashtag popular among education tweeters, is an effective writer and engaging storyteller. You’re sure to enjoy reading this book and his ideas, whether or not you achieve the Pepper Effect. Or even like the Beatles!
Dr. Laura Von Staden is currently a Middle School Gifted Math and Science teacher in Tampa, Florida. She serves on numerous committees in her school district, works closely with the local university, and writes curriculum. She is also a professional development consultant, and previously served as an Exceptional Student Education Specialist and as a mentor.